Do you really need to cleanse your face in the morning?

Jessica Biel no makeup

We spoke to a skin care expert to find out

It’s the age-old question that seems to divide skin care experts: Should you wash your face in the morning? While many are of the opinion that cleansing your skin after a relaxing eight hours is the perfect way to start the day, others believe a thorough morning cleanse is completely unnecessary. Most of us are aware of the main reasons washing your face in the morning is a good idea – mainly to remove any bacteria or impurities accumulated during the night, and to prep our skin to enable better absorption of the products and ingredients in our morning routine. But how many of us have even considered that perhaps cleansing in the morning might not be such a great thing? One skin care expert who is pro ditching the morning cleanse is founder and Director of Research and Development for RATIONALE, Richard Parker. We recently reached out to Parker to find out exactly why he believes we shouldn’t be washing our faces each morning and we have to say his explanation makes a lot of sense. 

According to Parker, “there’s no need to cleanse your skin in the morning if you’re using the right actives (like lipids, hydroxy acids and vitamin A) in the right concentrations at night”. Parker further explains that the actives you apply as part of your evening routine can actually work together with antioxidant and SPF actives applied in the morning to enhance their efficacy. While your skin will still reap the rewards from your evening skin care routine if you do wash your face as soon as you wake up, Parker notes you’re likely to see better results from your nighttime products if you hold off.

But what about any sweat or impurities that have developed on your skin overnight? “Over-cleansing in the morning can harm the skin’s delicate microbiome and damage the protective skin barrier that has re-established itself overnight,” says Parker. So, instead of cleansing as you normally would, a splash of lukewarm water is all that’s needed to rid your skin of any sweat “before applying your morning immune boosters, antioxidants and sunscreen. This [splash of water] hydrates the skin’s surface and will ensure previously applied lipids or nighttime actives aren’t removed,” explains Parker.

Want more skin care advice? Then check out our beginner’s guide to using retinol and find out everything you should know if you’re considering under-eye fillers.

Do you wash your skin each morning? Let us know in the comments below.

Main image credit: @jessicabiel

Kate has worked for BEAUTYcrew since early 2016, first as a contributor, before being named Beauty Writer in 2017. She loves picking the brains of the industry's top experts to get to the bottom of beauty's toughest questions. Bronze eyeshadow palettes are her weakness and she's forever on the hunt for the perfect nude nail polish to suit her fair skin. Her words can also be found in Men's Health magazine.